Lou, Thank you for your work with the medals for this shindig. Congratulations to the brave young airmen on the receiving end. Scout, Glad to see you back!
Lt. Mark Jericho April 27, 1916
Jericho and Griffen were heading to Bertincourt with no escorts! Jericho's new observer, Barrus was fuming. "With all due respect Capt., we might as well cinch up and go. The sooner we get back the better," Jericho said. Barrus replied, "With all due respect Lt. going that far over the lines without an escort is suicide don't you think!" Jericho turned to the Captain and said, "Could not have said it better myself Sir! Why don't you discuss it with the Major and see if we can call this whole thing off." Barrus turned in a huff and walked to the Morane warming up on the flight line. As Jericho climbed into the Morane he shouted to the Captain, "If you shoot like you did the other day Sir, we don't have anything to worry about!"
The two Morane's took off at 600 hrs. It was a beautiful day. The flight to Bertincourt was uneventful even if the Archie was fairly accurate. They unloaded their eggs over the target and after circling once to assess the damage turned for home. About halfway back Barrus signaled that they were being chased. Jericho was not worried. He had been in this situation many times by now. As Barrus opened up Jericho looked back to see where the Hun was. He was close! Jericho turned just as he heard bullets strike canvas and wood. They entered a turning fight with the green colored Eindecker with Barrus getting a burst when he could. Jericho was doing the best he could to ease toward the lines every chance he got. When the Eindecker would catch up and Barrus opened up on him Jericho would turn into him and then make a quick dash back toward the lines until the Eindecker caught up with them again. Jericho could see the lines ahead but this Hun was persistent! Just when Jericho thought things were going to be ok the engine sputtered and died! the fuel lines had been cut! This was a new situation and Jericho thought fast. How to evade the persistent Hun with no power. He nosed the Morane down as far as he dared to gain speed but still be able to clear the lines. He heard Barrus open up again. Again bullets cut canvas and wood all around the two airmen. Jericho pulled up almost to a stall and the Fokker, coming at full speed zoomed past on their right side. Jericho immediately nosed over again and dove toward the lines. The German trenches passed below them but Jericho knew they would never make it past their own and he started looking for a place to set the Morane down on the muddy moonscape below them. He saw his only likely spot in front of their trenches. Just then the Hun artillery started exploding in front of them! Jericho's mind was a blur with the ground churning up in front of them and Barrus hammering away with his Lewis behind! He turned left, then back to the right and they hit the ground hard. The right wing crunched on the ground and Morane spun around on the ground doing a complete circle but they were in one piece. Jericho unbuckled his straps and started to climb from the machine as dirt from the barrage and machine guns from the German trenches splattered all around them. As he started to leap from the Morane he saw something he will never forget, Barrus still at his gun shooting at the German trenches! He grabbed him by his flying coat and screamed, "Get out of the g@#dam#ed machine you crazy SOB !" They both tumbled from the Morane and dove into the trenches. As they lay there panting Jericho turned to Barrus, "Ill say this for you Captain. You got sand!" Once they both realized they were ok, they started to laugh. "My apologies for calling you a SOB Sir!" said Jericho.
Back at the aerodrome Jericho realized this had been his 100th mission. It was almost his last. Morris, his batman came to him with a letter. It was Camille. "You speak French Morris?" Jericho asked. Morris answered "Yes Sir, some." Jericho handed him the letter, "Can you cipher this for me then?" Morris took the letter, "Well, she say's here that she very much enjoyed your company and that she hopes you will come and see her again soon. Also she says that the money you gave her has allowed her to stay out of the business and hopes she never has to go back as long as you are in her life" "Thats about it sir." Morris ended. As Jericho thanked him and took the letter back Morris asked, "What business was she in Sir?" Jericho looked at him as said, "None of your business, that's the business she was in.
Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear or a fool from either end. BOC Member since....I can't remember!